The Land of Smiles (Das Land des Lächelns in the original German) is a 1929 operetta by Franz Lehár.
The show is set in China. The heroine Lisa is a European girl who marries a Chinese visitor and returns with him to his homeland despite the warnings of her friends and family, but eventually finds she is unable to come to terms with his native culture.
The show was originally produced under the title The Yellow Jacket (Die Gelbe Jacke). It was not a great success, and Lehár later revised it under the new title of Das Land des Lächelns - the 'land of smiles' refers to the Chinese trait of smiling, whatever happens in life. The leading character, Prince Sou-Chong has a song early in the show, 'Immer nur lächeln' (Always smiling) which describes this.
This was one of Lehár's later works, and has a bittersweet ending which the Viennese loved. Prince Sou-Chong is left alone, while his beloved Lisa returns to her homeland. His sister, Princess Mi had also become attached to the Viennese official, Gustl and so the ending is doubly sad.
Expensive to produce, the show was built largely around the voice of Richard Tauber, a close friend of Lehár's, who always had a 'Tauberlied' - a number that became famous, exploiting the qualities of Tauber's excpetional tenor voice. Tauber also appeared in the show in London, singing countless encores of the hit song You are my heart's delight ('Dein ist mein ganzes Herz' in the original).
Sadler's Wells Opera produced The Land of Smiles in the late 1950s, after Lehár's The Merry Widow starring June Bronhill had been incredibly successful, and pulled the company back from the brink of bankruptcy. Starring Charles Craig and Elizabeth Fretwell, the show was spectacular but didn't attract the same audiences as The Merry Widow. However, Craig's singing on the recording is outstanding, with some top Db's at the end of his big numbers. June Bronhill gives a touching portrayal as Princess Mi.